A NEW permissive footpath has finally been completed in Burley-in-Wharfedale following delays caused by the wet winter and spring.

A permissive footpath is a route which the landowner permits the public to use, with the intention that it should not become a public right of way.

The new path now provides a more accessible link from Great Pasture to the public bridleway at Leatherbank and Burley Weir than previously.

The new permissive footpath linking Great Pasture with the Goit The new permissive footpath linking Great Pasture with the Goit

It has already proved popular with local people, including those with restricted mobility who had previously been unable to use the steep and rutted woodland route.

The idea for the project to improve the footpath came from Burley’s Walkers are Welcome group, who were responsible for negotiating permissions from landowners and for coordinating the fundraising.

Walkers are Welcome volunteers at Great Pasture Walkers are Welcome volunteers at Great Pasture

David Asher, chair of the group said: "It is great to see that the path has so quickly opened up access for more people to an attractive stretch of countryside close to the village. Although it has long been a popular permissive footpath for sure footed walkers, those with more restricted mobility had found the route hard if not impossible to navigate safely. We are very grateful to the four landowners involved in eventually granting permission for the project to be carried out and being so supportive during the protracted construction phase."

Funding for the project came from Bradford Council’s Countryside Services team and from the Community Investment Levy (CIL) administered by Burley-in-Wharfedale Parish Council. Open Country, the Harrogate based charity promoting access to the countryside for all, including people with disabilities, were involved in the design stage. Volunteers from Open Country and Walkers are Welcome cleared the ground for the new footpath prior to contractors undertaking construction work.

The start of the new permissive footpath at Great Pasture The start of the new permissive footpath at Great Pasture

Mr Asher added: "This has been one of the more ambitious projects Walkers are Welcome has undertaken to improve access to the footpath network around Burley, and a fitting achievement for our 10th year since launching the group. We are having our Annual General Meeting shortly on Wednesday 19 June at St Mary’s Parish Rooms, starting at 7.30pm. Our speaker is Ian Brand, President of Wharfedale Naturalists, whose talk is entitled ‘The changing bio-diversity of Wharfedale, a Naturalists perspective’.

"Everyone is warmly welcomed to attend, and refreshments will be available."

For more information about the work of the group contact burleywalkersarewelcome@gmail.com, or phone David on 07551 959494.